Director: Glenn Payne
Performers: Casey Dillard, Richard Speight Jr., and Jessica Harthcock
Warning: Spoilers Ahead!
The movie industry is starting to open back a bit, and that means more horror! In Driven, the plot centers around Emerson (Casey Dillard), a down-on-her-luck rideshare driver and wannabe comedian. When she picks up mysterious passenger Roger (Richard Speight Jr.) though, her night takes a sharp turn for the worst.
With solid acting, dialogue, and cinematography, Driven surpasses my expectations for this small film. I genuinely didn’t know what was coming next, making each twist more fun than the last. As usual, avoid too many trailers if you can help it – too many give away too much. However, the film examines loneliness and class divisions in a thoughtful way without feeling forced or out of character. It also offers a new, less resourceful approach to the demon hunter character trope. Featuring a bisexual lead protagonist was a welcome surprise too. Keeping the relationship between Emerson and Roger away from romance really felt honest and new in a medium overwrought with love triangles and forced romantic liaisons for the sake of studio demands. It’s a refreshing horror-comedy ride worth sharing.
Now there are some nitpicks I could make, but the film is enjoyable and does a good job of building the plot’s tension while poking well-meaning fun at the genre. It is a film that deserves more views and attention. And with 4 film festival awards under its belt already, it already has a future.
If you are stuck at home, consider supporting independent films by watching or renting on your streaming service. This is the one time in a long time that independent filmmaking has been on a more level playing field with the major Hollywood studios. Show them that you support their innovation instead of endless remakes, sequels, and prequels.
Driven is available on demand June 16th.